MOTORJESUS
"Deathrider"

(Locomotive)

01. Legion of Rock
02. Destroyer
03. 10 Feet Under Ground
04. Deathrider
05. Distortion Sleep
06. The Howling
07. The Undertaken
08. Hellmachine
09. Invisible Man
10. Black Fuel Domination
11. Death Hammer Overload
12. The Evil

RATING: 7/10

If the greasy-knuckled biker rock of BRAND NEW SIN turns your crank, then these long-running German hessians (wisely debuting a new name, after spending years trying to get somewhere as THE SHITHEADZ) will fill the bill nicely. Throw in a little bit of accented Hetfield yowl, the occasional tough-but-generic mid-'90s ANTHRAX riffery, and the occasional bit of low-grade BLACK LABEL SOCIETY or CORROSION OF CONFORMITY vibe, and you've got yourself a decent, if unspectacular, riff-rock record.

MOTORJESUS are at their best when they're writing big, unapologetic, ham-fisted radio rock choruses — "Distortion Sleep" should, by rights, be blaring from the car stereo speakers of small-town mullet-heads all summer long. "Black Fuel Domination" has a bit more muscle to it, with a metallic sheen and some nice twin-lead stuff in the bridge (some of the only guitar flash on this record — a little more soloing might have spiced things up a bit more overall). "10 Feet Under Ground" starts out as a worrisome biker ballad, but any accidental STAIND echoes are quickly crushed like a used-up cigarette butt by a big, wide-open chorus accented with Hammond organ.

If you're gonna listen to a band like MOTORJESUS, you've just gotta accept a little cheese as part of the ride — I mean, you're rocking out to songs called "Death Hammer Overload" and "Legion of Rock", it's not high art here. Some will find fault with a certain generic quality to "Deathrider", as well — none of these riffs are blindingly original, and as awesome as Chris Birx's vocals are, he does tend to tread some well-worn ground. The lead single, "Destroyer", is a perfect example — seemingly cobbled together like a Frankenstein monster from pieces of older, better songs, it still manages to rock of its own accord, and you'll find yourself singing along and headbanging to it almost despite yourself.

The short version: punt this one somewhere between METALLICA's "Load", SPIRITUAL BEGGARS, BRAND NEW SIN, GODSMACK, and early-'90s ARMORED SAINT. MOTORJESUS are certainly not performing brain surgery here, but as far as good-time, down and dirty metal-tinged hard rock and roll goes, you could do a lot worse. A 6 on a less sunny, rock-conducive day.

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